A state of national calamity was declared by the Philippine president after super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) left a trail of destruction in several major islands of the Visayas region. Entire communities were wiped out after a tsunami-like storm surge hit the provinces of Leyte and Samar. More than 10,000 are feared dead
Roads were impassable for many days and power lines are still down. The situation in remote towns is now being revealed through the reports of journalists and rescuers. The photos from these reports reveal more stories of devastation and suffering.
Reporter David Yu Santos documented the situation in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the first town ravaged by typhoon Haiyan. Below are some of the photos on his Facebook account:
Meanwhile, Kashmer Diestro from Panay island, shared some photos that show the impact of Haiyan in Roxas City:
Below is a Twitter photo of volunteers writing messages of solidarity to typhoon victims:
— Patricia Ann Roque (@trish_roque) November 11, 2013
Pet animals were also killed during the storm surge:
Even pets paid a toll pic.twitter.com/fnW2uYQhjl
— Jim Edds (@ExtremeStorms) November 10, 2013
Lieutenant Colonel Fermin Carangan of the Philippine military recounted his ordeal during the storm surge:
…we noticed that water was slowly entering our office, so we went out again. Then suddenly, we saw that the water was getting higher and higher, until we were forced to get up the ceilings of the building. We had to bore holes on the ceiling just to get up there, and I was the last one up.
Suddenly the building collapsed and I saw my men falling into the surging water and very strong winds. There was also no more roof on top of the building. I was able to hold on to a piece of wood – a truss which I forcibly removed just before I was taken by waves and the strong current.
At sea, we went through another hell. We were slapped by waves, great big waves from all directions. We were also toyed by swirling winds. And we couldn’t help but drink a lot of salt water
Many volunteered in telethons to raise donations for the victims. Phillip Willard Medalla described his volunteering experience:
I spoke with hundreds of callers. In most instances, I caught myself teary-eyed while smiling with an excited but shaking voice because of stories of tragedy and hopelessness, and expressed willingness to donate and help as well. Reality is, there have been lots of donations but there are far more victims who need HELP.
Yeb Sano, lead negotiator of the government of the Philippines in the UN Climate Summit in Poland, delivered an impassioned speech in pushing for the signing of a climate pact. He made reference to the typhoon disaster that hit the country:
We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate.